IMPACTS OF TRANSIENT HUMAN COMMUNITIES ON RIPARIAN HABITAT AND WILDLIFE, AND BIOLOGICAL FIELD STAFF MONITORING PRACTICES AND SAFETY.
Devin Barry; GEI Consultants, Inc.; 2868 Prospect Park Drive, Suite 400, Rancho Cordova, CA, 95670; (916) 341-9125; dbarry@geiconsultants.com; Kelly Fitzgerald-Holland, Sarah Norris, Autumn Eberhardt

Environmental mitigation measures aim to minimize habitat degradation but do not consider the potential impacts of transient human populations on the environment (e.g., species, habitats, water quality) and human health and safety. This case study, which focuses on an urban parkway in Sacramento County, California, examines impacts of transient encampments on both the health and safety of biologists conducting the surveys, and on the species and habitat quality. Human occupation in urban parkway environments introduces a unique set of health and safety risks for biologists, which require consideration during planning and implementation phases of a project as these relate to staff numbers, time-of-day scheduling, equipment needs, and additional training requirements. We discuss the various risks encountered and provide recommendations to mitigate health and safety risks. We present anecdotal observations about the impacts of transient human populations on wildlife and habitats -- specifically the abundance and species diversity of nesting bird populations and vegetative and aquatic communities -- and conclude that transient communities have an adverse effect on wildlife behaviors. Without social and legal reforms that effectively address transient communities, biological consultants need to implement additional health and safety precautions, training, and awareness when working in these urban environments beyond what is typically required for field surveys.

Wildlife Professionals: Consultant Case Studies